During the last depression, moviegoers were obsessed with the wealthy. As with the aristocrats in Europe, these folks neither created nor managed wealth. They just had it and wanted more. Here we have a domineering woman who believes she deserves it all, taking from rich peers in the same family.
The thing can only be justified in terms of developing a feeling of moral superiority in the audience.
The story is: old maid matriarch terrorises her younger old maid sister who is demented and her weak-willed younger half-brother. He has just gotten married and will inherit the fortune, something the witch wants to prevent. The climax has her locking the new bride in a secret vault to suffocate. This is discovered and the aristopeach saved. The witch then locks herself in, guaranteeing doom but at least she will be with some pearls, worth almost $10 million in today’s dollars.
This was a successful play before being a successful film. Its all about the domineering witch, who must have been the model for Oz, and the simpering sister. Both were carried into the film from the play.
It is an odd notion to me, building a movie around characters only, with no other scaffolding.
Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.